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What Can Cause Brief Loss of Consciousness and is it a Sign of Stroke?

What Does Brief Loss of Consciousness Indicate.. is it a Sign of Stroke?

If you have had episodes of brief loss of consciousness then you may have had Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA). Transient Ischemic Attack or TIA is temporary and caused by transient loss of blood supply or oxygenation of brain.

Transient Ischemic Attack or TIA does not cause permanent minor or major damage. Alternative cause may be Acute Ischemic Stroke. If you have been experiencing brief loss of consciousness, then you should see neurologist for investigation and preventive treatment within 2 to 7 days if not earlier.1

What Can Cause Brief Loss of Consciousness?

First of all, if you have lost consciousness for brief period you should see your primary care physician or visit ER as soon as possible. There are several causes for brief loss of consciousness like transient ischemic attack, low blood pressure, shock, hypoxia, seizures, heart diseases (heart stroke), arrhythmia, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) anemia, side effects of medications, concussion, dehydration, and sleep deprivation.

Is On and Often Headache Related to Brief Period of Unconsciousness?

Yes, you may get headache for few hours after brief loss of consciousness if you had transient ischemic attack (TIA). If you are suffering with headache lasting 4 days and more after loss of consciousness you may have had an acute ischemic stroke (AIS). You should see primary care physician or neurologist for further investigation and try to find the cause of loss of consciousness.

What is Transient Ischemic Attack?

Transient ischemic attack is caused by brief period of lack of blood supply and oxygenation to brain tissue. Symptoms are same as acute ischemic stroke. Transient ischemic stroke does not cause any residual or permanent brain damage.

What is transient ischemic attack?

Should I be Worried if Brief Loss of Consciousness is Because of Transient Ischemic Attack?

Yes, you should be concerned and cautious, since brief period of loss of consciousness was a warning sign. If you ignore the symptoms of brief loss of consciousness then you could be heading for an attack of Acute Ischemic Stroke. 33% of patients after transient ischemic attack end up in ischemic stroke some time within 1 year, if preventive measures are not taken. Early diagnosis and MRI2 studies do help to find the cause of brief loss of consciousness.

Should I be Concerned About Multiple Episodes of Brief Loss of Consciousness?

Yes, if you have been experiencing multiple episodes of brief loss of consciousness then you should be seen in an ER or by a neurologist as soon as possible. According to scientific studies, multiple TIAs within one week is associated with greater risk of stroke.3

What To Do If You Are Experiencing Episodes of Brief Loss of Consciousness?

You should see a neurologist as soon as possible if not today.

Also Read:


  1. Transient ischemic attack: an evidence-based update.

    Emerg Med Pract. 2013 Jan;15(1):1-26. Epub 2012 Dec 20.

    Siket MS, Edlow J.

    Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI, USA.

  2. Early Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Transient Ischemic Attack and Minor Stroke: Do it or Lose it

    Moreau F, Modi J, Almekhlafi M, Bal S, Goyal M, Hill MD, Coutts SB., Stroke. 2013 Feb 6.

    From the Departement de Medecine, Universite de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Canada.

  3. Recurrent transient ischaemic attack and early risk of stroke: data from the PROMAPA study.

    Purroy F, Jimenez Caballero PE, Gorospe A et al.

    J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2013 Jan 23. [Epub ahead of print]

    Stroke Unit, Department of Neurology, Universitat de Lleida, Hospital Universitari Arnau de Vilanova de Lleida, IRBLLEIDA Research Institute, , Lleida, Spain.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 28, 2018
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